2016 Anaheim 2 Supercross CommentaryThe third race of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season at Anaheim Stadium in California is a big one. Excuses can be made for the first two, and the third round is where things get serious. You have run out of time to get your season in gear, as those who have found the magic early—such as Red Bull/KTM’s Ryan Dungey—are building a big lead over you if you aren’t performing.We’re seeing two tiers develop in the top 10, with Davi Millsaps, Justin Brayton, Jake Weimer, and Marvin Musquin working to fill in the places below the riders contending for the title. It’s fun to watch these series within a series. Let’s see who was on the Upside at 2016 Anaheim 2 Supercross, and who was on the Downside.
2016 Anaheim 2 Supercross Commentary, Upside
- Red Bull/KTM’s Ryan Dungey: There’s not much to be said about Dungey, except that he is 100-percent in the zone, and has been for quite a while. While in the past he had the shadow of Ryan Villopoto to deal with, with Villopoto retired, Dungey can stand in the sun on his own. If there’s a better rider right now, he’s not showing it. Dungey has two wins and a second, and a 13-point point gap after just three rounds. He leads all but five other riders by more than a race. Barring injury, it’s difficult to see a path to someone taking away Dungey’s #1 plate this year.
- Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Chad Reed: People keep expecting Reed to sail off into the sunset, and he continues to come back and shock the world. While he hasn’t won this year, his pair of 2nd place finishes at the last two rounds means he’s the real deal, yet again. When the much younger Eli Tomac came to chase Reed down at Anaheim 2, it was Tomac who faltered and Reed who stood on the podium for the second consecutive week. The only question is if Reed can put together an entire injury-free season. If he does, Reed very well could be on the overall podium at the end of the season.
- RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen: Roczen was one of three riders—Trey Canard and Eli Tomac being the other two—who needed to turn around their season at A2, and he was the only one to make the podium. Granted, Roczen’s podium was a gift when Tomac went down in an unforced error as he was going afterReed, but it’s a huge confidence boost to be standing next to the winner. Still behind Tomac in the standings, Roczen is something of a disappointment, given how well he started in his rookie year in 2015, but A2 may give him the momentum he desperately needs.
- BTO Sports KTM’s Davi Millsaps: Grabbing a holeshot was just the tonic Millsaps needed. Sure, he faded, but his 7th place was his best finish of the year, and he’s now the leader of the second tier of riders. Millsaps sits 7th in the standings, but all six riders ahead of him have direct factory support. It’s going to be tough for Millsaps to continue that run when James Stewart returns, and Trey Canard can bounce back. Realistically, if Millsaps manages Top 10 finishes all year, he’ll be a success by the season’s end.
- Team Tedder and Smartop MotoConcepts: Both indie teams had a couple of things to be happy about. Not only did Dakota Tedder and Jeff Alessi make the Main for the first time this year, but their teammates also did well at Anaheim 2. Mike Alessi’s 13th was his best finish of the season, and Jake Weimer grabbed his second Top 10 result in two weeks. On a bit of a Downside for Team Tedder, Weimer has been picked up by RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing for the rest of the year. No word yet if Team Tedder will have a replacement rider for Weimer.
2016 Anaheim 2 Supercross Commentary, Downside
- Team Honda HRC’s Trey Canard: Can we please get through a Supercross season without a nasty crash involving Canard? This time, he tangled with two riders in the first lap of his Heat race and went down hard. We were all having flashbacks, though maybe not as severe as broadcaster Ralph Sheheen who compared the crash to the nightmare at Dodger Stadium two year ago, and we crossed our fingers that he’d be back for the Semi. Canard didn’t disappoint. Suffering a bloody hand injury, Canard transferred out of the Heat. However, in the Main, he came together with BTO Sports KTM’s Justin Brayton and went off the track. It was enough to end Canard’s night, and he scored just one point at A2, dropping him out of the Top 10 in the standings, and he trails Dungey by 43 points, though Canard will be back for Oakland.
- Red Bull/KTM’s Dean Wilson: Suffering a knee injury in practice, Wilson didn’t even make it to his Heat. We’re still waiting to see how bad the injury is, but this is not a good start for the season. He had already been struggling with a 15th at San Diego 1, so this is just more bad news.
- Autotrader/Monster Energy/JGRMX Yamaha’s Weston Peick: Now out of the AMA/FIM doghouse, Peick had his first shot at making a Main this year. He qualified out of the Heat, and went on to finish far back in 14th place at Anaheim 2. Peick can’t blame a bad start, as he was sitting pretty in 4th place after the first lap. However, he dropped to the lower ranges of the Top 10 until disaster struck on the 19th lap, dropping him to 15th. After three rounds, Peick is in 21st in the standings, two points behind his nemesis, Smartop MotoConcepts’ Vince Friese.
- Autotrader/Monster Energy/JGRMX Yamaha Phil Nicoletti: Nicoletti filled in for the suspended Peick at SanDiego 1 and managed only a 21st. The next week, he is filling in for the injured Justin Barcia and he finishes 21st again. Yes, it’s nice that he makes the Main, but JGRMX is a quasi-factory team and picking up one point in each of the last two weeks isn’t picking up much slack.
- Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac: It’s still early for Tomac to panic, but three 4th place finishes have left him 5th place in the standings and 18 points behind a surging Dungey. A podium was within Tomac’s reach on the last lap at Anaheim 2, only to be thwarted by pushing too hard to pass Reed on the final lap. A multiple Main winner last year, no one would have thought that Tomac would not make the podium at any of the opening three rounds, especially with heavyweights like James Stewart and Justin Barcia only having two Main appearances between them.
2016 Anaheim 2 Supercross, 450SX Results – Round 3:1. Ryan Dungey – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
2. Chad Reed – Yamaha YZ450F
3. Ken Roczen – Suzuki RM-Z450
4. Eli Tomac – Kawasaki KX450F
5. Jason Anderson – Husqvarna FC 450
6. Cole Seely – Honda CRF450R
7. Davi Millsaps – KTM 450 SX-F
8. Justin Brayton – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
9. Marvin Musquin – KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition
10. Jake Weimer – Kawasaki KX450F
11. Wil Hahn – Kawasaki KX450F
12. Christophe Pourcel – Husqvarna FC 450
13. Mike Alessi – Honda CRF450R
14. Weston Peick – Yamaha YZ450F
15. Tommy Hahn – Yamaha YZ450F
16. Vince Friese – Honda CRF450R
17. Nick Schmidt – Suzuki RM-Z450
18. Lawson Bopping – Yamaha YZ450F
19. Dakota Tedder – Kawasaki KX450F
20. Jeff Alessi – Suzuki RM-Z450
21. Phil Nicoletti – Yamaha YZ450F
22. Trey Canard – Honda CRF450R
2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Standings (after 3 of 17 rounds)1. Ryan Dungey, 72 points (2 wins)
2. Chad Reed, 59
3. Jason Anderson, 57 (1 win)
4. Cole Seely, 55
5. Eli Tomac, 54
6. Ken Roczen, 51
7. Davi Millsaps, 36
8. Justin Brayton, 35
9. Jake Weimer, 33
10. Marvin Musquin, 31
11. Trey Canard, 29
12. Christophe Pourcel, 20
13. Wil Hahn, 18
14. Dean Wilson, 18
15. Broc Tickle, 17